The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XIII. The Victorian Age, Part One.
§ 42. Sebastian Evans
Sebastian Evans, who was born in the same year with Brown, but whose favourite subjects were nearer Dixon’s, was a younger brother of the well-known antiquary Sir John Evans and also of Anne Evans, whose verse has been noticed already. She was a friend of Thackeray and, for some time, an inmate of his house, where she may have derived the suggestion of one of the least unsatisfactory definitions of humour ever attempted—“thinking in jest while feeling in earnest.” Her brother Sebastian was himself possessed of the quality; but (which may surprise some who do not possess it) he was, among a variety of pursuits—art, literature of other kinds, journalism, politics—an enthusiastic medievalist, as was shown in his poetical and other writings, from the early Brother Fabian’s Manuscripts to his late presentation of The High History of the Holy Graal, including the part to be found in French and Welsh but not in Malory or in most modern adaptations of the story. The thinking in jest and the feeling in earnest of his sister’s words are both present in Evans’s poetry; and they find frequent expression which, if not exactly consummate, is distinct and attractive. Of the rather numerous attempts at retelling the story of St. Brandan and Judas his, if the most deliberately quaint, is one of the most original; and Shadows is a poem which would not disgrace the signature of any poet.